Regatta sets sail at the bay

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Lechelle Earl, owner/editor

Regatta sets sail at the bay

Sixteen boats took to the waters of Port MacDonnell on the weekend for the second instalment of the Western Regions regatta calendar.

Sailors came from Warrnambool, Derrinallum and Portland to sail the two day event.

There were almost as many classes of boat as there were boats on the water with crews ranging from just the one person up to three people on board, with monohulls and catamarans both represented.

In weather unlike the Port MacDonnell norm, the fleet was graced with flat seas and gentle 7 knot winds for the day.

There was a rolling start with the first division of faster boats such as catamarans beginning first and the slower boats starting five minutes after.

They sailed a simple course of a triangle and then a run back to shore past the ID flag and across the finish line.

The fleet spread out as they raced, with the two fireballs and Sharpie proving to be the fastest boats on the water.

Sharpie ‘Gin and Tonic’ skippered by Don Allen from Warrnambool, took line honours with Rod Barker’s Fireball ‘Cop You Later’ crossing the line in second place.

There was a delay between race one and two so that buoys could be moved.

The wind held steady and conditions were much the same for the next race.

The second race saw most boats cross the line from the starboard, but three of the monohulls chose to do something different and start from the port side instead.

This tactical choice did not make much of a difference as the first boat across the line was Portland Tasar ‘Dreadnought’ sailed by father and son team Andrew and Reuben Hays, who started on the starboard side of the line.

This time ‘Gin and Tonic’ was the second boat across the start line.

Sundance ‘Billy 2’, skippered by Nick Watson changed from the first division to the second one which worked better as they were able to finish race two.

The committee boat moved the ID flag between races two and three to ensure the larger boats did not hit the reef as they approached the finish line.

With that done, the third race could then be undertaken in slightly stronger wind conditions.

One boat jumped the start line and did not undertake the penalty, therefore they were subsequently disqualified from the race.

The increased wind conditions favoured the catamarans which sped around the course.

It was a colourful finish to the race with boats approaching the finish with spinnakers up.

Even with the stronger, catamaran favouring winds, ‘Gin and Tonic’ with its single hull was once again the first boat across the line and ‘Cop You Later’ came in close behind.

There was a three course meal put on by the Port MacDonnell Sailing Club for all sailors at the end of the day’s racing, which was enjoyed by all.

This was followed by a trivia night which showed that sailors are just as competitive off the water as they are on it.

The second day of the regatta had to be called off as there was large swell and very light winds which made it dangerous for the smaller boats to launch from the beach.

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